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The Netherlands aim for an upturn, above all abroad


aperturaHolland has companies of all sizes, with overall turnover in yacht production of about 2.3 billion Euro in 2014, 1.5 billion of which were exports. Turkey and European countries are among the main nations with which Holland has trade relationships.

It’s a mature market in yachting, which felt the effects of the crisis but is constructing solid foundations for an upturn, banking above all on exports. These, in short, are the characteristics of the Netherlands, which has boatbuilders of all sizes. There are more than 500,000 yachts currently in use. There are many boats in polyester, particularly sailing boats; most Dutch boats are in steel and diesel powered. Many are used by families, suitable also for use in freshwater, with an average length of between 26 and 36 feet.

According to the Pleasure Boat International Resource Guide, the overall turnover of Dutch boatyards was $6.3 billion (€5.4 billion) in 2013, significantly lower than the $7.8 billion of 2012.

Data from Hiswa, the Dutch yachting Association, report and overall turnover just for the production of yachts of about 2.3 billion Euro in 2014, 1.5 billion of which were exports. There were signs of an upturn in the yachting sector in employment. In 2014, total employees in the sector were 31,680, compared with 29,361 in 2013.

2014 was the first year since 2008 to see an increase in jobs in the sector and boatbuilders have maintained production at high levels.

The turnover of Dutch yards relating to yacht repairs in 2015 was 637 million Euro, up on the 558 million Euro of 2014. Employment in these yards increased from 2700 employees in 2014 to 2815 in 2015.

There are about 670 active suppliers in the sector of services and equipment for national and international ports and other maritime companies. Some of these companies are independent niche operations, others are affiliated to some of the largest Dutch shipbuilding groups and the remainder are subsidiaries of international companies.

Most of the companies in the sector are small and medium enterprises. Turnover data for the maritime equipment sector show an increase of more than 10%, from 3.8 billion Euro in 2014 to 4.2 billion Euro in 2015.

However, in this segment the number of temporary workers has dropped by more than 25% (about 2200 jobs) while full-time employees have diminished from 18,080 in 2014 to 18,005 in 2015. Companies in the sectors see 2016 as a challenging year.

Yacht orders increase

The value of orders for yachts more than doubled from 648.6 million Euro in 2012 to 1591.75 million Euro in 2013, reaching 1665.62 million Euro in 2014.

Also increasing is production in overseas yards belonging to Dutch boatbuilders; today 60% of Dutch boats are exported. A still flourishing second-hand market in Holland is holding back the recovery of orders in the home market, so the yachting industry is more oriented to international markets.

Among the overseas countries that interest Holland particularly is Turkey. There is also a lot of interest in other European countries, where Holland has easy access thanks also to well-organised logistics.

Italians too considerably appreciate Dutch yachts. Every year, hundreds of keen Italian yachtsmen decide to build or buy a yacht in Holland. This is because they appreciate the design, the superior technical quality and the services offered by these products. Because of the crisis and the flourishing second-hand market, the prices of yachts in Holland are generally lower than in Italy, England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and other European countries. Most Dutch yards and brokers sell more than 50% of their yachts to foreigners.

Participation in the Marine Equipment Trade Show (METS), held each November in the Netherlands and considered one of the most important marine equipment fairs in Europe, is very useful for building up relationships with customers in foreign countries.

Dutch marine equipment and accessories companies are doing good business, and electronic accessories for boats are also much in demand. There is a lot of interest in positioning systems and communication instruments, but also in less sophisticated instruments.

The superyacht sector

Dutch superyacht builders signed 28 new contracts for yachts of more than 24 m in 2015, compared with 22 contracts the previous year. But the overall value of the orders was lower than in 2014, at a little more than 1.1 billion Euro, as the new superyachts ordered were smaller on average than in 2014.

The constantly low exchange rate of the euro and regional differences in economic development led to further geographic diversification in port customers.

At the end of 2015 there was a balance between deliveries and new orders; at the end of the year there were 72 super yachts on order, for an overall value of more than 4.2 billion Euro. Many of the larger boatbuilders have orders stretching to the end of the decade; 2015 saw the completion of new production plant for several Dutch superyacht builders.

Dutch yachting Associations

One Dutch yachting Association is the Hiswa Holland Yachting Group, which represents some of the world leaders in super yachts.

The mission of the association is to promote international exchanges and reinforce the competitive position of the Dutch yachting industry in the world market through an alliance of several Netherlands-based companies. The Association, over the years, has acquired increasingly in-depth knowledge of the sector. It has also built up lasting relationships with all leading boatbuilders, suppliers and media representatives. This has considerably reinforce the position of association members in the international market.

A second important yachting Association is Netherlands Maritime Technology, a rich network of shipyards, suppliers and service providers that work together in all situations and conditions. In the maritime technology field, these companies, large and small, aim for avant-garde responses in the search for new challenges and solutions.